10 Essential Foods for Cyclists

Training is just as important as good nutrition to improve your fitness on the bike. High-energy, low-fat foods should be the mainstay of an essential performance-oriented diet.

For this reason, and if you want to start taking care of your diet to improve your physical fitness, we offer you a list of foods every cyclist should have in their fridge.

What are the staples of a cyclist’s diet?

Here are 10 essential foods for cyclists.

Coffee

coffee for cyclists

Coffee is already an essential complement to the cyclist’s breakfast or any break or rest. Caffeine has a stimulating effect that delays the onset of fatigue. It activates the cardiovascular system and improves the perception of effort, allowing better mobilization of energy reserves.

  • Primary nutrients: caffeine, minerals (calcium and magnesium).
  • When to take: Before exercise.

Oats

Oats for cyclists

Rolled oats are a natural source of carbohydrates that will be used to replenish your stores of glycogen, the nutrient needed for muscle movement. Eat it for breakfast with milk or fruit. It’s a great way to prepare for a race, training session, or competition.

  • Primary nutrients: carbohydrates, fibres, and minerals (magnesium and iron).
  • When to take: before, during, and after exercise.

Nut

Nuts for Cyclists

Nuts are nutrient-dense nuts easily absorbed by the body and are a very healthy way to get energy for training and after exercise. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, a source of healthy fats that will provide your body with slow-release energy—ideal for healthily increasing your stamina and resistance.

  • Primary nutrients: fatty acids (benign), carbohydrates, and proteins.
  • When to take: before, during, and after exercise.

Banana

banana for cyclists

It is undoubtedly the fruit most associated with sports, especially cycling. It provides a large amount of energy in the form of carbohydrates and potassium, a mineral capable of delaying the onset of cramps. On the other hand, it is easy to transport, peel and eat, making it one of the fruits you should always have in your pantry.

  • Main nutrients: carbohydrates and minerals (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus).
  • When to eat: before and during exercise.

Energy Bars

Like bananas, energy bars are ideal to consume before and during cycling or training, as they are easy to transport and ingest. In addition, they are easily digestible by the body, taking advantage of their nutrients (mainly in the form of carbohydrates) within a few minutes of taking them.

You can buy bars of all types and flavours at sports nutrition or cycling stores or make your bars at home. Cereals, nuts, dried fruits, dried fruits, or chocolate are some of the most common elements in bars, with a high percentage of carbohydrates in their composition.

  • Main nutrients: carbohydrates and proteins.
  • When to take: before and during exercise.

Citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit)

Citrus for cyclists

The benefits of fruits such as oranges and lemons for cyclists are marked by their high vitamin C percentage. On the one hand, they strengthen the immune system, contributing to a better recovery capacity for all kinds of efforts, whether short or long workouts. On the other hand, they have a great antioxidant capacity. When taken after a workout or race, they can reduce muscle damage or inflammation, thereby improving recovery.

  • Main nutrients: vitamins and minerals.
  • When to take: After exercise.

Chicken

Chicken has low-fat and very high protein content among meats, making it an exciting option to include in a cyclist’s diet. We recommend consuming it after training, accompanied by pasta, rice, or potatoes, to optimize your recovery.

  • Main nutrients: protein.
  • When to take: After exercise.

Pasta

Few foods are associated with the daily life of a cyclist, as much as pasta. It is one of the primary sources of energy in the form of carbohydrates which guarantees strength, power, and endurance in any cycling challenge. On the other hand, it is effortless to cook and combine with other staple foods such as meat or fish. And among the pasta, we recommend that you opt for wholemeal pasta, which is easier to digest thanks to its high fibre content.

  • Main nutrients: carbohydrates and fibre.
  • When to take: before and after exercise.

Rice

Rice, like most grains, is a staple in the cyclist’s pantry. It is convenient as a primary energy source, thanks to its high carbohydrate and protein content, which guarantees good muscle performance and increases energy reserves to better support long days of cycling. It also contains vitamin B and essential minerals such as iron and fibre, strengthening the immune system and facilitating rapid digestion.

  • Main nutrients: carbohydrates and proteins.
  • When to take: before, during, and after exercise.

Tomato

An essential vegetable of the Mediterranean diet that should not be missing in your fridge. Its primary source of nutrients comes from carbohydrates, in addition to its high percentage of water (93.6%), vitamin B, fibre, and sodium. 93.6%). This composition makes it relatively easy to digest and promotes excellent immune balance, which is essential for supporting high training loads. Add it to salads, stews, or mash, and drink it as a juice or smoothie.

  • Main nutrients: carbohydrates and vitamins.
  • When to take: before and after exercise.

Eggs

Finally, remember to rely on this staple in hundreds of diets worldwide, especially in recovery. The egg is one of the foods of animal origin that contains the most protein, about 13% per egg, and a large number of vitamins and minerals, such as zinc and iron.

However, it is a food whose use is controversial due to its high cholesterol content, around 237 mg, and somewhat slower digestion. For this reason, there are still many sports nutritionists who do not consider it a staple in the diet of athletes and only recommend it for specific times, limiting its weekly consumption. We recommend that you incorporate it into your nutritional plan and cook it healthier, such as cooked (for salads, for example), poached, or grilled. So, eggs can be one of the best natural scavengers out there.

  • Main nutrients: proteins and minerals.
  • When to take: After exercise.
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